What were Vladimir Lenin's greatest contributions to socialist political thought?
When most people talk about Marxism-Leninism, they have no idea what it means.Marx and Engels talked about dialectical materialism, class struggle and the problems with capitalism, but they did not have a theory for taking power. They believed that somehow the proletariat would rally and seize political power.Lenin saw through this problem, and considered it to be too idealistic. His response was to say u201cIt is too difficult to bring all of the proletariat together to seize power. Instead, there must be a small vanguard party (Vanguardism - Wikipedia) with a small group of people who share a single goal - seizing power.u201d This party would seize power in the name of the proletariat, and form a dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin argued that it would take too long for the general public to acquire class consciousness, and in the meantime the capitalists would come up with new ways to enslave and exploit the proletariat. For this reason, the Communist Party must act to seize power NOW.This was what the Bolsheviks did when Czar Nicholas II abdicated in March 1917, and led by Lenin and Trotsky, formed the Petrograd Soviet - Wikipedia against the Russian Provisional Government.During their 10-month standoff against the Provisional Government, Lenin and Trotsky formed a military and group of revolutionaries who seized post offices and train stations in Petrograd, then spread throughout the rest of Russia. Eventually, the Bolsheviks seized control throughout Russia and neighboring republics and formed the Soviet Union (USSR).Leninu2019s idea of the vanguard party had opposition within the world socialist movement. The Polish-German socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg - Wikipedia denounced Leninu2019s idea of vanguardism, and argued that there should be more democracy at the highest levels of the socialist movement and its leadership. She later went on to found the German Communist Party, and was a leader of the German Socialist Revolution of 1918 - 19, which failed. She was later executed, and her body was thrown into a canal.The fact that the Russian October Revolution led to the foundation of the Soviet Union, which lasted 70 years, while the German Socialist Revolution completely failed to take power showed that Leninu2019s belief in vanguardism was correct.In all cases where socialist (Communist) movements seized power, the Communists were a comparatively small part of the population, but because they had good leadership with clear goals, they were able to seize power.This was Leninu2019s contribution to the socialist movement and socialist thought.